Actor James Garner, born James Scott Bumgarner near Norman, Oklahoma, died this weekend at the age of 86.

Articles about James Garner and his brother Jack report that their parents ran a general store at Denver Corner. The area is now within the city limits of Norman, but it was eight miles east of downtown. The obituary of Jewel Green Bunch says her first teaching job was at Denver School, where she taught young James Bumgarner.

The 1940 Cleveland County highway map shows the community of Denver, with a church and a school, on what is now 108th Street SE, halfway between Alameda Drive, which was Highway 9 prior to the construction of Lake Thunderbird, and modern day Highway 9. Denver Cemetery is still at that location, on the east side of the street; the school is shown on the west side of the street and a bit further north. Highway 9 was gravel; 108th St. SE was dirt. (That map also shows Central State Hospital with more territory than the University of Oklahoma, which was outside the Norman city limits at the time.)

The 1936 USGS Norman quadrangle map shows Denver School and cemetery in the same locations.

Denver Corner is still a known landmark, at the corner of 108th Street SE and Alameda Drive. There's a grocery store and bait shop there that serves as the record keeper for fish caught in Lake Thunderbird.

It's not unheard of for the highway intersection nearest to a rural community to get the name of that community plus a suffix like "Corner" or "Junction." Denver Corner would have been where you'd turn off Highway 9 to get to Denver community, and it would have been the logical place to locate a general store to serve locals and motorists alike.

By the 1952 map, the school and church at Denver were gone, but Highway 9 was paved and the area at Denver Corner was more built up, with a church and a combined dwelling/business. By the 1963 map, Lake Thunderbird had been built and Norman's city limits had been expanded to include it. Denver community was no more.

Somewhere I once came across an interview with James Garner where he tells about growing up in rural eastern Cleveland County. If I can find it, I'll link it here.

bbcmquartet.jpgThe BBCM Quartet, an award-winning young string quartet from Tulsa, will perform as part of the Summerstage Festival tomorrow night, Friday, July 18, 2014, at 7:30 p.m. in the Charles Norman Theater of the Tulsa PAC. Tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for seniors and students, $8 for 12 and under.

The quartet -- Joseph Bates and Nicholas Bashforth on violin, Anthony Conroy on cello, Quinn Maher on viola -- will present a variety of genres, including classical chamber music and movie themes.

The program includes:

  • "Hedwig's Theme" (Harry Potter), John Williams (arr. Cameron Patrick)
  • What Wondrous Love is This?, traditional (arr. Dana Fitzgerald Maher)
  • Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, K. 525, Mozart
  • String Quartet No. 1, Andante cantabile, Tchaikovsky
  • The Magnificent Seven, Elmer Bernstein (arr. Cameron Patrick)
  • Canon in D, Pachelbel
  • Raiders March, John Williams (arr. Cameron Patrick)
  • Wexford Carol, traditional (arr. Dana Fitzgerald Maher)
  • Blarney Pilgrim, traditional (arr. Dana Fitzgerald Maher)
  • String Quartet "Lobkowitz", Op. 77, No. 1, Haydn

The four study music at Barthelmes Conservatory under instructors John Rush, Sheri Neubauer, and Krassimira Figg.

The BBCM Quartet won first place in the 2014 Tulsa Young Chamber Artist Competition (sponsored by Tulsa Camerata and Chamber Music Tulsa) and finished second in the Buttram String Quartet competition sponsored by the Oklahoma City Philharmonic. All four members of the group are in the Tulsa Youth Symphony and were at Quartz Mountain last month as part of the 2014 Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute orchestra.

Here's their appearance on Fox 23's Tulsa Live this morning. The sound is a little unbalanced because of the use of lapel mics rather than standard instrument pickups.

MORE: The BBCM Quartet is available for weddings, banquets, and other functions. Contact them through their Facebook page.

A poll of likely Oklahoma Republican primary voters revealed strong support for school choice generally and specific school choice proposals, as strong in the rest of the state as it is in the Tulsa and Oklahoma City metropolitan areas.

The poll was commissioned by the American Federation for Children and conducted by the Tarrance Group prior to the June 24, 2014, Oklahoma primary. Scott Jensen, the former Speaker of the Wisconsin Assembly and a senior advisor to AFC discussed the results last night at a reception at the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame hosted by State Sen. Jabar Shumate (D-Tulsa), a leading proponent of school choice at the Oklahoma Capitol.

Oklahoma currently offers charter schools in metropolitan school districts and two scholarship programs that include private schools as options, the Lindsey Nicole Henry Scholarships for children with special needs, and the Equal Opportunity Education Scholarship tax credit, where donors to scholarship-granting organizations can get a partial tax credit for their donations. The Henry scholarships have the support of 76% of Republican primary voters and the scholarship tax credit is supported by 72%. Support for both of these existing measures is even higher outside of the two major metro areas, 78% and 76% respectively.

Despite overwhelming Republican majorities in both houses of the legislature, two broader school choice measures were defeated this year: Educational Savings Accounts and expanding charter schools to rural areas. Jensen noted that legislators often hear first and most emphatically from those with an interest in maintaining the status quo. On school choice issues those voices usually belong to the school superintendent or school board members. Part of AFC's mission is to make the voice of parents who support school choice heard at the state capitol, through polls and through mobilizing parents who want choice for their kids to interact with legislators. ESAs were supported by 64% of likely Republican primary voters, and 82% support allowing charter schools throughout the state.

The local affiliate for AFC, Oklahoma Federation for Children, is co-chaired by Tulsa oilman Bob Sullivan and Oklahoma City publisher and broadcaster Russell Perry. This is the first Oklahoma election cycle in which the organization has been involved in educating voters about the school choice views of primary candidates. The affiliated OFC Action Fund was engaged in four primary races. OFCAF made independent expenditures in support of school choice advocate Rep. Anastasia Pittman (D-Oklahoma City) in her winning primary campaign for Senate 48, Bruce Fisher in his unsuccessful effort to unseat school choice opponent Mike Shelton in the House 97 Democratic primary, and Sen. A. J. Griffin in her successful defense of the Senate 20 Republican nomination.

In House 69, an open seat, the group opposed the nomination of Melissa Abdo, a Jenks school board member and an opponent of school choice. The Jenks district sued parents of special needs children who sought Lindsey Nicole Henry scholarships, and Abdo is personally a plaintiff in a later lawsuit to block the scholarship program. Abdo finished first in the primary but fell short of the majority; she faces an August runoff against Chuck Strohm.


State Rep. Jason Nelson has a collection of links concerning the Lindsey Nicole Henry Scholarships.

A December 2013 Friedman Foundation survey of Oklahoma registered voters found that 59% support educational vouchers, and, while over 90% of Oklahoma children attend traditional public schools, only 39% of those surveyed would choose a traditional public school as first choice for their own children, while 31% preferred private schools, 11% homeschool, and 8% charter school.

Positive Tomorrows is a tuition-free Oklahoma City private school meeting the needs of homeless children. School leaders say that Educational Savings Accounts would allow them to expand those opportunities and serve more children.

This 24-minute documentary reports on the Lindsey Nicole Henry Scholarship program and some of the children who have benefitted.

Interesting coincidence:

Keith Ballard is the Superintendent of Tulsa Public Schools. He was appointed to the post in 2008.

Tulsa Public Schools is a client of the law firm of Rosenstein, Fist, and Ringold. According to the firm's website, that relationship began in 1932. In 2011, questions were asked about the amount of money -- over a half million a year -- the district spends with the firm each year.

Matt Ballard is an attorney with Rosenstein, Fist, and Ringold. He joined the firm in 2008 and was made a member in 2011. He is the Republican nominee for District Attorney in Rogers, Mayes, and Craig counties.

Keith Ballard is Matt Ballard's father.

Ashers Baking Co, a Christian-owned chain of bakeries in Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland, has been sent a letter from the Equality Commission for refusing an order to make a cake featuring a picture of Bert and Ernie from Sesame Street, the message "Support Gay Marriage," and the logo of an organization called "Queerspace."

A customer placed an order for the cake on a Friday, staff at the location sent the request to headquarters for review, and on Monday, headquarters contacted the customer and advised him that they couldn't complete the order and he would be refunded his money. Six weeks later the company received a letter from the Equality Commission accusing Ashers of discriminating against the customer on the basis of his "sexual orientation."

Daniel McArthur (24), general manager at the Newtownabbey company which has been running since 1992 and employs 62 people, said Asher's had been founded by Christians, and the current directors are Christians.

"That means that we run our business according to Christian values and beliefs, according to what the Bible teaches. It means for example that we don't open on Sundays, that we trade openly and honestly with people," he said.

Mr McArthur said even the company's name was Biblical, as Asher was one of the 12 tribes of Israel. "It was a tribe that had gifted bakers," he added.

The cake was for an "anti-homophobia and transphobia" event hosted by the then-Mayor of North Down, Andrew Muir. Another baker, located in the same city as the event, filled the order. The nearest Ashers location, in Belfast, is 12 miles away, suggesting that Ashers was specially targeted for political reasons.

Northern Ireland has sometimes been called the Bible Belt of Europe. The Ulster Scots (also known as "Scotch Irish") who settled America's Bible Belt are descended from the same stock as the Protestants of modern Northern Ireland. Under the British constitution, England and Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland have different laws pertaining to marriage and family. Northern Ireland has not yet caved to the forces of libertinism but still maintains the civilized definition of marriage, the legislature having voted down three "gay marriage" bills in the last three years.

Since the discrimination charge doesn't match the facts of the case, it will be interesting to see how it is handled. Ashers didn't discriminate against the customer because of his "sexual orientation"; they discriminated against the words the customer wanted on the cake. Surely they would have refused the same order even if a customer of normal sexual desires had requested it. In a video message, Ashers general manager Daniel McArthur notes that the bakery has refused commissions involving indecent language and imagery.

Ashers has the support of the Christian Institute's Legal Defence Fund.

Recently, a friend suggested to me that American Christians would have to be cagey about objecting to "gay marriage." Rather than openly refusing service on moral grounds, he said that Christians should find other excuses. In this case, for example, the bakery might have said that they couldn't bake a cake featuring copyrighted characters. I replied that to do so was to surrender our freedom of conscience, which has to include the right to express our disapproval of immoral behavior. Also, as a practical matter, the cramdown artists" (see below) are zealous enough to investigate the validity of excuses. If a wedding photographer says she's already booked for the day of a "gay wedding," expect the diversity mutaween to stake out her house and studio that day for evidence that the excuse was bogus.


William Murchison writes that we have a duty to talk back to the "cramdown artists" seeking to coerce approval of their moral viewpoint:

What this country almost certainly doesn't need right now is more laws and regulations; but it doesn't necessarily need fewer laws and regulations, either. What we appear to need above all else is a deeper -- and that's not saying much -- understanding of the purposes for which a civilized society passes laws and enacts regulations. We need, in essence, moral instruction.

Eeek! "Moral instruction"? "Right" and "wrong"? By whose lights, whose standards? The contraception debate -- to the extent you call it a debate instead of a shouting match -- brings to mind these fundamental, yet generally skirted, issues. In 21st-century America, right and wrong are matters we hand over to the big guns in politics and -- alas -- the chattering profession, my own profession: the media. He who makes the loudest noises and wins the most elections gets to cram his views down the public's throat....

...the proprietors of viewpoints at variance with those of the cramdown artist have a duty only partially fulfilled. That duty is to speak back; to explain why the cramdown artists are morally off base, by widely, and historically held, standards. This task has not been performed well, or at all, partly -- such is my intuition -- because the cramdown artists get lathered up when their judgments meet with contradiction.

Too bad. The time for backtalk has come. In fact, it came a long time ago; we just didn't notice. Alas.

Former Conservative MP and Minister Ann Widdecombe writes in the Daily Express:

Surely it is an elementary feature of true democracy that nobody should be obliged by law to affirm that which he or she does not believe.

Yet Parliament was assured time and again that the introduction of gay marriage would not cause discrimination against those who believed it wrong. What price your assurances now, Mr Cameron?...

In a free country the baker should be able to refuse to take part in what is effectively PR for gay marriage in the knowledge that any customers who do not like that decision are free to buy their morning loaf elsewhere. But then it is a long time since Britain and freedom were synonymous.

Widdecombe reports on a letter from someone who was rejected as a foster parent "because she would not affirm that a gay relationship was on a par with a marriage between a man and a woman."

Presumably the powers that be would prefer a child to be shunted between homes as long as they are run by politically correct care workers than be placed in a loving environment with foster parents who do not sign up to state orthodoxy.

Over on Conversation Catoosa on Facebook, there's a rumor about moving the City of Tulsa's Rolling Hills subdivisions from the Tulsa school district to the Catoosa school district.

This is an area southwest of Admiral and 193rd East Avenue that has been in the City of Tulsa since the massive 1966 annexation and has been in the Tulsa school district since the independent East Central school district was annexed into the Tulsa district in 1964. It is bordered by the City of Catoosa and the Catoosa School District on the north (across I-44 in Rogers County) and east (across 193rd East Ave. in Wagoner County).

Such a transfer would benefit the neighborhood, both school districts, and the City of Tulsa. The neighborhood once had Carl Sandburg Elementary School in the TPS system, but Sandburg closed in 2011. The "neighborhood" school is Kerr Elementary, over five miles away. I'm told that many students in the neighborhood transfer to Catoosa schools, where the furthest building is about three miles away, and the middle and high schools are barely a mile away. The neighborhood has always had strong cultural and economic ties to Catoosa.

Beyond this one half-section, it would make sense to move everything east of 145th East Ave. out of the Tulsa School District. The area was also home to Lynn Lane School and several never-developed TPS sites. East of 145th East Ave and south of 31st is already in the Broken Arrow School District, and that area has seen many new subdivisions in recent years. Transferring the area north of 31st and east of 145th to Catoosa would encourage new residential development within the Tulsa city limits and would increase the value of existing homes, and that increase in value would benefit all Tulsa taxpayers, by spreading the property tax sinking fund burden across a higher assessed value. City of Tulsa leaders would be smart to encourage the move.

Part of the City of Tulsa is already in the Catoosa district: part of the area in Wagoner County annexed in 2001 and the fenceline in Rogers County that extends to the Tulsa Port of Catoosa.

TPS would benefit, too, by no longer having to run bus service to the isolated subdivisions and acreages of east Tulsa. TPS might even be able to sell the Sandburg building and proposed school locations to Catoosa schools for their future expansion.

If I'm reading 70 O.S. 7-101 correctly, voters in the affected area could submit a petition requesting an election, and it wouldn't take many of them. Subsection B reads:

B. An annexation election shall be called by the State Superintendent of Public Instruction without the concurrence of the board of education of the school district which is proposed to be annexed, upon the filing of a petition with the State Superintendent of Public Instruction for annexation that is signed by a majority of the school district electors in the territory proposed to be annexed, hereinafter referred to as the area affected, said majority being applied to the highest number of voters voting in a regular school district election in the district in the preceding five (5) years as determined by the secretary of the county election board, who shall certify the adequacy of the number of signatures on the petition. The petition shall contain such information as the State Superintendent of Public Instruction may require.

The TPS board could choose to limit the election to the affected area or, if they wanted to give the petitioners a bigger hill to climb, could have the entire school district vote. I'd hope that TPS would see the benefit of ceding this sprawling territory with its attendant expenses.

Once upon a time, developers wanted to move rural school territory into the Tulsa district to attract suburban homebuyers. In the early 1950s, voters transferred a large section of the Union district into the Tulsa district -- everything now in the Tulsa district southeast of 21st and Yale.

But for several decades now, smaller suburban and rural districts have been more attractive to househunting parents than Oklahoma's largest single school district. Parents feel that suburban board members and administrators are more accessible and responsive, and a district with one high school is more of a cohesive community than a district with nine where the boundaries seem to be constantly changing. Parts of the City of Tulsa in suburban districts have thrived, while I suspect it's been over 30 years since a new middle-income housing development has been built within TPS boundaries.

MORE: A November 21, 2010 Tulsa World story lists earlier waves of school closings in the Tulsa district.

An excerpt from President Calvin Coolidge's speech on the 150th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence:

A spring will cease to flow if its source be dried up; a tree will wither if its roots be destroyed. In its main features the Declaration of Independence is a great spiritual document. It is a declaration not of material but of spiritual conceptions. Equality, liberty, popular sovereignty, the rights of man these are not elements which we can see and touch. They are ideals. They have their source and their roots in the religious convictions. They belong to the unseen world. Unless the faith of the American people in these religious convictions is to endure, the principles of our Declaration will perish. We can not continue to enjoy the result if we neglect and abandon the cause.

We are too prone to overlook another conclusion. Governments do not make ideals, but ideals make governments. This is both historically and logically true. Of course the government can help to sustain ideals and can create institutions through which they can be the better observed, but their source by their very nature is in the people. The people have to bear their own responsibilities. There is no method by which that burden can be shifted to the government. It is not the enactment, but the observance of laws, that creates the character of a nation.

About the Declaration there is a finality that is exceedingly restful. It is often asserted that the world has made a great deal of progress since 1776, that we have had new thoughts and new experiences which have given us a great advance over the people of that day, and that we may therefore very well discard their conclusions for something more modern. But that reasoning cannot be applied to this great chapter. If all men are created equal, that is final. If governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, that is final. No advance, no progress can be made beyond these propositions. If anyone wishes to deny their truth or their soundness, the only direction in which he can proceed historically is not forward, but backward toward the time when there was no equality, no rights of the individual, no rule of the people. Those who wish to proceed in that direction can not lay claim to progress. They are reactionary. Their ideas are not more modern, but more ancient, than those of the Revolutionary fathers.


121 years ago today, Katharine Lee Bates was on a train through Kansas, watching the amber waves of grain, en route to the purple mountain majesty of Pikes Peak. Eleven years earlier on a boat from Coney Island to Manhattan, Samuel Ward wrote down a melody on a friend's starched cuff. Mark Steyn tells the story of the words and tune of "America the Beautiful" and how they came together.

English philosopher Jeremy Bentham didn't think much of the Declaration. He wrote a critique of the document, published as the final chapter of John Lind's Answer to the Declaration of the American Congress.

One of the films created at the recently concluded Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute involved my favorite violinist.

The film was directed and produced by Matt Hanisch and Shauna Rathbun. The music is "River Flows in You" by Yiruma. The setting is Quartz Mountain Resort on Lake Altus-Lugert in southwest Oklahoma.

The Einstein quote from the film:

"Everyone is a genius, but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb, it will live its whole live believing that it is stupid."


It seems that ousted Rogers County District 3 Commissioner Kirt Thacker is just gonna take his ball and go home. On Tuesday, Thacker lost the Republican primary to Ron Burrows in an election with higher than normal turnout. Burrows goes on to face a Democrat opponent in November.

A member of the Conversation Catoosa Facebook group reported that, on the day after the election, she went to the free dump that Thacker had established and found that it was closed.

Thacker's reply to the report and to comments on the report:

The majority of the voters apparently didn't like the job I've done. I see no reason to force something on the people that they don't want. Sore loser? On the contrary I am relieved and glad it's over....

I explained the reason for the closing and you are welcome to believe what you want. As far as responsibility goes, the trash program isn't a requirement of the job, that was an extra.

I hadn't followed Rogers County politics closely until a friend of ours (Treasurer-elect Jason Carini) filed for office. I listened to audio of the May 29, 2014, Catoosa candidate forum (courtesy Oklahoma Constitution reporter Theodore King), including the part of the forum devoted to the Rogers County Commission candidates. Thacker was asked if there were any plans to close the free dump. "I have no plans whatsoever to close it." He said that prior to establishing the dump, he would get a call about a large abandoned item, and he'd have to pull his crews off of their assignments to go pick it up. With the dump, those calls have decreased from three or four times per week to two calls per month. The dump is funded through grants from the Association of County Commissioners, with no local funding required.


In his response to the same question, Burrows praised the dump and the reduction in roadside trash. He wants to expand the program by having jail trusties pick up roadside trash in the district.

If Thacker has a grant to operate the dump, doesn't he have an obligation to keep it open or else return the money?

UPDATE 1: Thacker answers the question on Facebook: "The fiscal year ends on June 30. The grant has ran it's course."

OK, but wouldn't he have already applied for a grant for the upcoming fiscal year?

UPDATE 2: On Facebook, Thacker answered that question: "Nope."

I asked, "But at the May 29 forum, you said that you had no plans whatsoever to close it. Most grants take some time to prepare, submit, and process. You hadn't started the grant application process at all?"

Thacker's reply:

Plans change. This grant is easy and fast to prepare thru the Association of County Commissioners. I am a "Lame Duck" so for the remainder of the term we will concentrate on road work. The required part of the job.

What an interesting night!

I had been at the watch party for Randy Brogdon, Ken Yazel, David Brumbaugh, and Chuck Strohm. The mood there was generally upbeat: Yazel had survived another establishment attempt to knock him off, winning re-election to another four-year term as County Assessor and Courthouse Gadfly with 64.8% of the vote. Brumbaugh won renomination to represent House District 76 with almost 75% of the vote. Strohm, running for the open House District 69 seat to replace Sydney Fred Jordan Jr, finished second but made the runoff.

Brogdon delivered an upbeat speech before the results began to come in and was as upbeat even after it was clear that no miracle was in the offing. He mentioned that he would be a grandfather for the first time later this year and urged the audience to continue to fight for liberty and for fiscal sanity for the sake of generations to come. He was, as always, a gracious gentleman. I've never seen him otherwise.

It was a pretty good night for the BatesLine ballot card.

Ken Yazel's re-election and sizeable margin was especially heartening.

My friend Jason Carini will be the new Rogers County Treasurer. He got into the race because no one else would run, and he wound up defeating a six-term incumbent. The incumbent DA and District 1 County Commissioner were both tossed out as well.

Republican DA Brian Kuester (Wagoner, Cherokee, Sequoyah, Adair Counties) won re-election by a wide margin. (No Democrat filed in an area that was once part of solid-Democrat Little Dixie.)

In the Tulsa County DA race, Steve Kunzweiler finished first with 46.8% and received a majority of the votes that were cast for the two actively-campaigning candidates, but State Sen. Brian Crain, who dropped out, got 13%. Jordan could gracefully drop out at this point, as Cathy Keating did in the 2001 special Congressional primary, but if he doesn't, it looks like there will have to be a runoff with the question of Jordan's eligibility still looming. (Could the State Election Board revisit eligibility at this point, as they certify the result of this election? Or must the court intervene? Will the court enjoin the State Election Board from certifying Jordan as a candidate for the runoff?)

For the first time in many years, a statewide incumbent official finished last in the primary. State Superintenden Janet Barresi not only finished behind Joy Hofmeister, who won the GOP nomination without a runoff, but she was beat by Brian Kelly, an also-ran four years ago. Some say that the last time something like this happened was 40 years ago, when scandal-tarred Gov. David Hall finished third to David Boren and Clem McSpadden in the 1974 Democrat primary. With 22% of the vote, Barresi wasn't beat quite as badly as Tulsa County Commissioner Randi Miller in 2008, but it was close.

Congratulations to City Councilors Jack Henderson, Jeannie Cue, and Blake Ewing, all of whom won re-election without a runoff. Ewing's principal opponent, Dewey Bartlett Jr's 2013 campaign manager Dan Patten, who raised $15,000 before the deadline, won 15% of the vote, not do much better than political novice Elissa Kay Harvill, who raised so little she didn't have to file paperwork, but won 6%.

In District 7, Republican incumbent Arianna Moore finished second to Democrat Anna America in the non-partisan primary, but there will be a runoff. Jonathan Turley finished a close third. Moore and America will face off in November, when partisan fervor is likely to energize Republicans and demoralize Democrats, at least here in the Sooner State.

It was not a good night for national Tea Party organizations. Mark McDaniel lost narrowly to decrepit incumbent Thad Cochran in the Mississippi Republican runoff for U. S. Senate. An important political difference between Oklahoma and Mississippi is that Oklahoma has party registration while Mississippi doesn't. In Oklahoma, if you're a Democrat or Independent on April 1, you can't become a Republican until September 1. In Mississippi, you may have voted in every Democrat primary for decades, but as long as you didn't take a Democrat ballot in the primary, you can take a Republican ballot in the runoff. Oklahoma's system is more consistent with the idea of a political organization choosing its own standard-bearer.

I've got a lot to say about the Oklahoma Senate race and why the national Tea Party groups failed to get their choice elected, but I'm too tired tonight.

And now, your moment of zen:

After many enjoyable conversations at the Brogdon/Yazel watch party, I drove into town to a coffeehouse to write this report and get a bite to eat. As I sat down, Paul Tay, candidate for Tulsa City Council District 9, who had been outside, walked in and made a determined beeline for my table. Not far behind him was Mike Workman, local Democrat activist and Labor Commissioner nominee. They had been at the Constance Johnson Tulsa watch party.

Tay, resplendent in a cowboy hat with an NRA sticker on the front, explained to me that his November opponent, Councilor G. T. Bynum, was overqualified for the Council, and what Bynum needs to do is leave the City Council, make a hard-right ideological turn, and prepare to run to replace Jim Inhofe in the U. S. Senate in six years. Why? Because Bynum in the Senate is the only way we'll get a federal earmark to pay for new low-water dams in the Arkansas River. The taxpayers won't pay for it, George Kaiser won't pay for it, so that leaves Uncle Sam.

The idea displays some insight, although Oklahoma conservatives wouldn't be likely to approve a candidate who supports earmarks, and Bynum has already burned several bridges with local conservatives. Local government is more often than not the graveyard of political careers. (Inhofe is a rare exception, but he lost re-election to a fourth two-year term as mayor in 1984 before a successful run for an open seat in Congress in 1986.) After a few minutes, Workman thoughtfully pointed out to Tay that I was probably writing on deadline and the two left.

In the spotlight

Oklahoma Election 2014

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Latest links of interest:

Center for Research in Language: Remote Desktop using VNC with SSH Tunnel (Windows)

A different approach to remote desktop access, using free (as in free speech and free beer) open-source tools (PuTTY and RealVNC).

Air Conditioning Hell: How Liberalism Happens -

Part 2 of what happens when Christians allow ourselves to be embarrassed out of upholding truth, specifically when Christians affirm the truth of a doctrine but with regret and embarrassment.

"What does this say about God? What does this imply about God's truth? Can a truth clearly revealed in the Bible be anything less than good for us? The Bible presents the knowledge of hell just as it presents the knowledge of sin and judgment: these are things we had better know. God reveals these things to us for our good and for our redemption. In this light, the knowledge of these things is grace to us. Apologizing for a doctrine is tantamount to impugning the character of God.

"Do we believe that hell is a part of the perfection of God's justice? If not, we have far greater theological problems than those localized to hell.

"Several years ago, someone wisely suggested that a good many modern Christians wanted to 'air condition hell.' The effort continues.

"Remember that the liberals and the modernists operated out of an apologetic motivation. They wanted to save Christianity as a relevant message in the modern world and to remove the odious obstacle of what were seen as repugnant and unnecessary doctrines. They wanted to save Christianity from itself.

"Today, some in movements such as the emerging church commend the same agenda, and for the same reason. Are we embarrassed by the biblical doctrine of hell?

"If so, this generation of evangelicals will face no shortage of embarrassments. The current intellectual context allows virtually no respect for Christian affirmations of the exclusivity of the gospel, the true nature of human sin, the Bible's teachings regarding human sexuality, and any number of other doctrines revealed in the Bible. The lesson of theological liberalism is clear--embarrassment is the gateway drug for theological accommodation and denial."

WORLD | Marriage and millennials | Amy Henry | July 11, 2014

Amy Henry reflects on her 25th wedding anniversary and what she'd say to the generation that sees no point in marriage. "One advantage of marriage is that, when you fall out of love with him or he falls out of love with you, it keeps you together until you fall in again." --Judith Viorst

WORLD | Married to Darwin | Marvin Olasky | July 12, 2014

Part 1 of what happens when Christians allow ourselves to be embarrassed out of upholding truth:

"We might think chapter 2 of Genesis teaches that 'God formed the man of dust from the ground,' and Eve from Adam--but if they were the product of evolution, than early Genesis becomes a myth, and everyone who assumed the history to be true (including Jesus and Paul) were naive. Original sin becomes a theoretical construct rather than harsh reality, so why do we desperately need Christ?

"If for the sake of the children we can't give up Darwin, and if by doing so the kids don't turn their backs on the Bible, they have a Bible with lots of pages torn out and its overarching theme--creation, fall, and redemption--slashed. If we jettison Genesis, Jesus who made miracles will eventually go too. Jimmy, Kathy, and sweet Lorelei may go to church a bit longer, but they'll eventually find a more amusing club.

"What's the alternative? Theistic evolutionists say we must bend or die, but when we bend on something so basic, where do we stop? Is our chief task to glorify our Creator or to be glorified by other creatures? When Darwin trumps the Bible, what are we worshipping?"

David Klein, Illustrator

David Klein captured post-war optimism and the golden age of air travel in his posters for Trans World Airlines. This site features dozens of travel posters, plus Broadway window cards, and other art work. (Found via the TWA Museum website.)


Answers to All Your Hobby Lobby Questions - Bloomberg View

Uncommon common sense from Megan McArdle:

"But we extend corporations many of the rights that people get because otherwise the results would be horrifying: The government would have the right to shut down the presses at the New York Times; search Google's servers without a warrant whenever they liked; tell churches (usually organized as corporations) what they could believe; deny nonprofits the right to organize protests; and otherwise abridge fundamental human rights....

"'Why is it any of my employer's business what birth control I use?' It's not, but once you make them pay for it, you make them a party to the transaction. You can't, on the one hand, mandate that someone pay for something, and on the other argue that it is a matter of supreme indifference to them.... If you endorse universalizing your own beliefs -- for example, "Brendan Eich should be fired because he spent his own money on opposing gay marriage" or "Women have a right to the fullest contraceptive access" -- then it shouldn't surprise you that other people might not be content to privately not use abortifacients while buying insurance for its employees who pay for same."

PetaPixel: Understanding Golden Hour, Blue Hour and Twilights

A guide to the photographic characteristics of sunrise, sunset, civil, nautical, and astronomical twilights, and the Golden Hour and Blue Hour. An iOS app called PhotoPills helps you plan photography around sun and moon positions.

The Top Eleven Christian Television Shows - Mere Comments

Another list by Anthony Esolen: "Again, we're looking for shows that embody the Christian ethos, and not necessarily shows that are explicitly about Christianity."

On Second Thought ... Another Movie List - Mere Comments

Anthony Esolen's list of 50 classic Hollywood movies that embody the Christian vision of the world.

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